A song of ascents
“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where will my help come?
My help comes from Yahweh,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121 is another short psalm in this series of ascent songs or hymns on the way to Jerusalem. This psalmist looked to the hills. Where was his help going to come from? He simply replied that it would be Yahweh, who made heaven and earth, that would come to his aid. Do these hills refer to the Mount Zion or the hills where the Baals, the local gods in high places, were worshipped?
“Then the Israelites attached themselves to the Baal of Peor.
They ate sacrifices offered to the dead.
They provoked Yahweh to anger with their doings.
A plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up.
Then the plague was stopped.
That has been reckoned to him as righteousness
From generation to generation forever.”
Once again Yahweh was angry with the Israelites as they sacrificed to the pagan god Baal at Mount Peor in Numbers, chapter 25. They had sex with the local women and began to worship the local gods of Baal on their way into the Promised Land. This proved Yahweh to anger again, so that a plague broke out among the Israelites. Phinehas, who was the grandson of Aaron, stood up and killed an Israelite who brought a local Midian woman into his family. He also killed her with a sword in front of everybody. With that, the plague that had killed 24,000 Israelites stopped. Thus his name, Phinehas, is still honored for generations. This killing was considered righteousness because of the wicked Israelites.